Digital medicine as a way to reduce healthcare paperwork

2019-03-01

Digital medicine as a way to reduce healthcare paperwork

According to Frost&Sullivan, the market of digital healthcare solutions will reach $6 billion by 2021 at the annual growth of 40%. It means that developed countries will extensively use electronic medical records, remote monitoring of patients, and online sales of drugs. What prospects does this open in the Russian healthcare sector?

Global digitalization of medicine

Electronic Health Record (EHR) is already used by Austria, France, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Estonia, Finland, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden. EHR partially (not over the entire territory) operates in the UK and in public hospitals.

EHR system consists of elements accounting for data protection, doctors’ obtaining of information, development of a single base of terms and common standards.

The telemedicine service market is mostly developed in the USA. Consequently, the country is ever-more-rapidly integrating information systems into healthcare in comparison with the rest of the world. Grand View Research investigation showed that the global EHR market was $23 billion in 2016 and would increase up to $33 billion by 2025. The majority of this sum was focused in the USA where the biggest share of EHR system market was occupied by such companies as Epic (26.7%), Cerner (24.8%), Meditech (17%), and Centricity Practice Solution (10.3%).

Besides, the Department of Health and Human Services of the USA as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology are engaged in the development, support, and standardization of digital medicine projects. Brazil, India, Russia, and Asian countries are also actively evolving this area.

Electronic medical records as an alternative to paper ones

Health Reсords / Medical Records allow to store patient information, carry on a disease history, save prescription and drug data, as well as systemize and analyze available information. Both patients and doctors have the access to records.

Such records can contain full history of person’s appeal to various health facilities, assay and immunization sheets, data on allergies and all diseases. It allows doctors to receive comprehensive information about patients faster and prescribe treatment more precisely, as well as to reduce the amount of paperwork.

Health Records (EHR) have a range of advantages for doctors and patients. With red tape decreasing, information accumulation time shortens and patients get treatment more promptly. Moreover, the overall level of medical services is improved.

Advantages of Electronic Medical Records

  • Data on the patient's condition are stored in a reliable place: a protected cloud storage. Therefore, full information about all diseases and features won’t disappear and will be available in any hospital.
  • The record contains history of patient body changes throughout life. Complete information with immediate access will help doctors to conduct analytics and make more accurate diagnoses.
  • Systematized information stored in digital form instead of paper one allows medical organizations to conduct efficient studies. In particular, it refers to disease statistics.
  • Records allow to implement certain programs for controlling healthcare quality in the country.

The possibility to add digitized data from paper records to the base allows to make more precise forecasts based on big data (in retrospective).

Electronic Health Records in Russia

Projects on the integration of the healthcare electronic system in Russia were initiated in 2011. Back then, one developed a program called the Uniform State Health Information System, which allowed to create the information space. One of the most significant points was a section about administration of healthcare facility operations using digital systems and the integration of electronic medical records.

Corresponding orders issued by the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation were adopted and complemented in 2014 and 2018. Thus, the government was working on unifying forms of medical records as electronic records and reports. The primary goal was to legalize information healthcare systems, decrease red tape, and enhance medical service quality.

In summer 2017, five million citizens of Moscow registered electronic medical records, which was the half of the total number of Moscow patients. Now, the Integrated Medical Information and Analytical System (IMIAS) already includes 455 million appointments to doctors.

“The system registered more than 7.3 million electronic medical records and wrote out over 50 million electronic prescriptions. Its functional capabilities always grow,” Alexei Khripun, Moscow Government Minister, commented on system operations.

2017, the local health authority approved the introduction of electronic prescriptions, while the RF Government Decree No. 1567 legalized the implementation of electronic sickness certificates. Later, another 10 documents were added to the list of legal acts. This trend started advancing more rapidly after the adoption of Telemedicine Law in January 2018.

Such a system substantially simplifies the document flow: well, an outpatient ticket can be signed based on person’s electronic medical record (using doctor’s electronic signature). It means that one can keep similar documents in paperless form and cut the expenditure of time for printing out and signing such tickets.

Systems for patients’ electronic healthcare records

There are several convenient systems for managing patients’ medical records in certain health facilities.

MEDMIS. It is a system for private clinics, allowing to maintain hospital operations. It helps to keep accounts and receive patients as well as supports two options of electronic medical records. Moreover, the program is in charge of stomatologic notes and calculation of materials from the warehouse. It features the Disease History section where one can put in records of previous doctors. The system is integrated with the IP telephony.

Such platforms as SmartMed, Clinic365, InterSystems, HealthShare, and ClinicIQ also provide electronic medical systems allowing to store patients’ records.

Conclusion

Informational support simplifies and optimizes management of hospitals without needless papers and resources, helps to deal with staff, as well as to command finance and physical resources. Digitalization of the healthcare sector encourages the development of telemedicine within the country, the mass adoption of remote consulting, and the rapid online aid.

The application of regional information analysis systems and electronic health records is a crucial stage of medicine evolution in Russia with highest priority in the coming years. One is gradually issuing a range of new decrees on e-workflow in healthcare at the federal level. By the way, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation is going to limit the number of healthcare information systems in order to lead everything to the single standard.

According to Veronika Skvortsova, Head of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, all medical institutions in major cities and regions will adopt information systems by the end of 2021. One will establish a digital archive and a system of patient single routing and will activate central servers. It will allow to take the healthcare quality to a new level: the amount of paperwork will be decreased, people will be able to work with big data and obtain advice remotely.

The increasing demand for digitalization of national healthcare systems and the development of technologies will encourage the growth of the digital medicine market. What plays a critical part in this aspect are government initiatives that will promote and integrate electronic systems of medical record management.

You will be able to discover more about development prospects of the Uniform State Health Information System and application of electronic medical records by listening to the presentation by Boris Zingerman, a member of the ICT expert board at the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation. He will speak on March 5 at the specialized event dedicated to telemedicine progress – M-Health Congress.

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